Canadian Aerospace – Opinion Piece
– Procurement & Industry – August 2009
A Nation among Nations: Aerospace is a Strategic Industry because it underlies the life or death of your country as an autonomous state
Op-Ed: Present and Future Aerospace Procurement Opportunities by Steve Daly, CD
Canadian Aerospace Industry and the implications for Canada's survival as a sovereign state
The commercial success of any particular aircraft type – such as the Series 400 Twin Otter or the proposed CSeries
– are properly the responsibility of the individual companies, Viking or Bombardier. However, the continued
viability of the industry as a whole must remain a central concern of the Canadian governement. Actions
in support of this strategic industry must be woven into procurement practices of all government
agencies. Most importantly, it must be a central factor in purchases by the Department of National
Defence, especially the Air Force.
Domestic orders are essential if any aircraft type is to attain the goal of international exports.
If the Canadian government – and especially its Air Force – shows no faith in the products of Canadian
aerospace designers and assembly workers, what expectations can we have that a commercial carrier
or a foreign military half a world away will show an interest? Customers will buy a product that is tried and tested.
There can be no better promotion than the ongoing and successful operation of a proven design. Canada's
government should purchase and operate examples of Canadian aerospace products wherever the aircraft types
suit our nation's needs.
One Opportunity: Taking the pressure off of the CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Canada lacks sufficient "platforms" to meet all its many military and sovereignty patrol needs. Most citizens are
aware of the low numbers of CP-140 Aurora aircraft. But there's a deeper problem. The fact is that the
Aurora has been burdened with too many disparate responsibilities. A new platform is needed for the North, one that
can fill both Arctic sovereignty and coastal patrol requirements.
This new maritime patrol aircraft type, designed specifically for its assigned purpose, would allow
the Air Force to use their existing Aurora fleet to concentrate on the more appropriate strategic
mission – wide-area maritime patrol – until a suitable replacement has been
Example: Guardian 400 could fulfill both the Northern patrol and utility transport
The Guardian 400 is based on Viking Air's updated Series 400 Twin Otter. It continues that
type's outstanding heritage. Guardian 400 's expanded sensor options include radar, an EO turret and a
searchlight. Four (4) underwing hardpoints offer flexibility. A Guardian 400 can carry specialized cargo,
such as rescue packs or emergency food for relief in natural disasters.
Guardian 400 's internal fuel tanks can extend the operating time to 10 hours. Currently, 440
Squadron operates the CC-138, an earlier variant
of the Twin Otter.  The upgrading of squadron maintenance facilities and hangars, as well as
the training of 440 personnel will be much less onerous than if Canada purchased a completely new, unfamiliar,
and invariably foreign-built aircraft for this purpose.
The question is: How to fund such an acquisition? The current Fixed-Wing Search & Rescue
( FWSAR ) program
envisions the purchase of 19 aircraft to meet combined Arctic Utility and SAR requirements. Reducing that
number to 18, and utilizing the funds earmarked for CC-138 life extension, it should be possible to acquire
as many as eight (8) new Guardian 400 aircraft.
Replacing the four (4) current Twin Otters with eight (8) new Guardian 400s would also allow for
stationing four (4) aircraft at CFS Nanisivik.
In a stroke, Canada could enhance its Arctic presence (part of sovereignty assertion), its Northern SAR
capability, and the urgent need for increased utility transport among northern communities. The aircraft based at
Nanisivik would also be available to support the new Arctic Warfare Centre at Resolute,
Near-Term/Long-Term: Replacing the CP-140 Aurora fleet for Wide Area Maritime Patrol
At the time of writing, the P-8A Poseidon –
derived from the Boeing 737 – is the front-runner for the eventual replacement of the existing CP-140
Aurora fleet. As citizens, we must ask our- selves: Is the purchase of another foreign aircraft the best
course for Canada in the long run?
The life of Canada's CP-140 fleet, if freed of its
constabulary and sovereignty assertion roles, could be extended
until a domestic alternative to that foreign-sourced Boeing P-8A Poseidon becomes available.
Bombardier has designed its CSeries as a competitor to the Boeing 737 in the commercial field. There is
no reason why the CSeries airframe could not also be modified by Bombardier into a domestic competitor
to the P-8A Poseidon as a maritime patrol aircraft.
This isn't solely a matter of choosing a new aircraft. It must also be asked how such a 'platform' would fit
into existing organiza- tional structures. Rather than trying to maintain the Air Force's already
over-extended role requirements, it would be better to expand Transport Canada's
National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP ) to incorporate to incorporate a new
platform performing the non-military patrol roles. Other nations – Australia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden
– adopted a Canadian-built aircraft for sovereignty patrol. Why not Canada?
Supporting the development of such 'platforms' would provide an economic stimulation to the Canadian
aerospace industry. And that stimulus effect multiplies with each aircraft exported. It makes
sense, from a purely economic viewpoint, to procure new Canadian Forces platforms from Canadian sources. The health
of the Canadian aerospace industry would be ensursed as would continued innovation and job growth that goes with such
a robust aerospace industry.
Horses for Courses: A Proposal for a new Arctic / Sovereignty Patrol
Aircraft ( A/SPA )
For wide-area maritime patrol, as other nations have discovered, the Bombardier Challenger provides an ideal platform
for a variety of specialized tasks falling within this general mission. Business aircraft orders are down –
meaning minimal production delays – and the Challenger aircraft has the speed and range to make
patrols of the long Canadian coastline or the Arctic.
As implied above, an Arctic/Sovereignty Patrol Aircraft (A/SPA) would primarily be a platform carrying out
constabulary duties – monitoring our coastlines, and the like. Armaments would not be required
but an effective sensor suite is crucial. The A/SPA would build on the Challenger MMA, incorporating
synthetic aperture radar, rear EO/IR turret, observation windows, and gravel deflectors for rough Arctic
The Challenger MMA has proven itself capable of air-intercept (including on SAR missions). But the
synthetic aperture radar can also be used for strip mapping. This ability would allow A/SPAs on patrol to
routinely update maps of Canada's Arctic coasts and communities. Such mapping also serves to enhance
constabulary role enforcement in those northern reaches. 
The Leading Edge of Composite Technology – Bombardier's CSeries and Maritime Patrol
The Bombardier CSeries will have advantages beyond its domestic roots. Construction will include
a large percentage of composite materials. This makes an airframe inherently more corrosion
resistant while exposed to salt air over water.
Another advantage comes from new-technology geared turbines.  Such engines are vastly superior because of their
reduced carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions. In addition, fuel consumption is much lower than the of the older
style turbofan engines used on Boeing's 737.
The environment is an important issue for Canadian citizens. Thus, lower emissions and fuel consumption
should play a central role in the decision-making for this important procurement.
When the CF Lockheed CP-140 Aurora fleet was purchased it replaced the Canadair CP-107 Argus, a
domestic designed and produced aircraft which had provided sterling service to this country. An 'Argus II ',
based on the new Bombardier CSeries would benefit from the recent Aurora moderniza- tion. The
Aurora provides an integrated mission suite which could be fitted to a modified CSeries airframe. Such
a course lowers the risk inherent in purchasing new aerial platforms since the complex integration of the
avionics is already accomplished. Upgrades can be planned incrementally, bringing Canada a
fully up-to-date Maritime Patrol Aircraft platform from a Canadian factory.
Canada, of all nations, knows how hard it is to rebuild a national aerospace industry once it has
been allowed to languish. The current world economic situation has posed an unexpected threat to the Canadian
aerospace industry as orders for both business and commercial types are reduced, delayed, or
cancelled outright. Fortunately, the current economic situation is not without opportunities. Simplest to
exploit is meeting Canadian security needs while providing both short-term stimulus to the economy and
long-term support for the aerospace industry.
 The CF's CC-138 is a standard, civilian-model DHC-6-300 Twin Otter. Viking's Series 400 is an
updated development of that aircraft. The Guardian 400 is their dedicated military variant.
 The advent of commercial UAVs used by commercial fishing fleets also bears monitoring.
 The CSeries will have the PW1000, a relative of Pratt & Whitney Canada's smaller PW810.